Patrick Radden Keefe on historic reminiscence in Spain: “Silence is the price of peace, but traumas do not disappear” | Culture | EUROtoday

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Patrick Radden Keefe (Boston, United States, 48 ​​years previous) has been passing by Barcelona for a month. “I have lived like a cloistered monk, working non-stop on my new book,” the journalist from Boston confided on Thursday. The New Yorkercreator of works similar to Do not say something y The empire of achein an workplace on the CCCB, within the coronary heart of Barcelona's Raval. He has written between 10 and 12 hours a day – he says he has already completed a 3rd of the quantity – with some breaks to run, one in all his passions. This has allowed him to find the town. He has jogged nearly every day to Park Güell, regardless of the sloping topography of the Gràcia neighbourhood, after which walked alongside Passeig de Sant Joan till reaching Ciutadella. And from there, to the ocean. He has shopped on the Mercat de la Concepció, admired the tremendous islandsthe controversial pedestrian zones designed by Ada Colau, and visited the locations that George Orwell, one in all her favourite writers, frequented through the Civil War. “Her description of the trenches in Tribute to Cataloniathe place Republicans and fascists insulted one another, is a prophecy of social networks,” he says ironically.

The Barcelona centre has chosen the writer, one of the most famous journalists of our time, as the first resident of a new international programme that, in the coming years, will invite big names in culture and science to spend two months in the city to establish links with local agents. Radden Keefe has met with experts and intellectuals, organised a series of conferences “on freedom of the press, the concept of truth and the rise of the authoritarian right” alongside big names in investigative journalism and has participated in the extensive programme of events at the CCCB, where it has been common to see him at the evening activities. “It has been a privilege to have this room of my own to write without distractions or obligations, without having to prepare breakfast for my children every morning,” he jokes. Not for long: his wife and two pre-adolescent children have just arrived from New York – where they live in Westchester, the residential suburb of John Cheever and Mad Men— to spend the remaining month with him in Barcelona.

In the city, Radden Keefe has found a favorable context, a society that understands his books well and connects with his concerns.Do not say anything “It was about post-conflict reconciliation and the question of collective memory. These weeks I have been able to speak with experts about how these problems, which I studied in the context of Northern Ireland, resonate in the Catalan experience and in the aftermath of the Civil War, which obviously still continues,” he says. For example, he met with historian Queralt Solé, a specialist in historical memory and mass graves. Having studied other processes, do you think Spain digested its dictatorship well? “Silence is the price of peace. Sometimes, it is the only way to move forward. Especially when, as happened after Franco’s death, you need to get along with your neighbour even if they belong to the other side. I understand this impulse to turn the page, but I am convinced that history does not disappear. Trauma and memory do not disappear, especially when there has been no resolution,” he answers.

Radden Keefe has been interested in the 2017 referendum and the Spanish government's response: “Sometimes, a government's exaggerated reaction to the expression of a point of view manages to strengthen and intensify it”

Radden Keefe will leave Barcelona with some notes for a possible article. “It is very likely that I will end up coming back here and writing a great story at some point.” He has been interested in the coexistence of languages, the importance of Barça in the social imagination and even the Catalan rock scene of the nineties. In other words, “the way in which a cultural and popular feeling has a political translation.” He has also been interested in the 2017 referendum and the response of the Spanish Government. “Sometimes, the exaggerated reaction of a Government to the expression of a point of view manages to strengthen and intensify it,” says the journalist. “The lack of alignment between political points of view and responses of the State can have perverse results.” And he adds, with a certain malice, that he is surprised “that Spain recognises Palestine as a State, but not Kosovo.”

First of all, Radden Keefe has come to Barcelona to talk about the profession he wanted to practice from a very young age. What is the mission of journalism when the notion of objective truth is eroded? “Our task is to continue telling that truth, to seek it and excavate it, but also to fight for the truth as a concept, as a human ideal,” he says. “Even in these dark and disbelieving times, even if we believe that what we do is useless, we have the historical duty to capture things, to record them so that our descendants know that we were aware of what was happening, to leave an indelible mark.” Is the journalist no longer a hero, but a mere recorder? “I also grew up with the image of a journalist, All the President's Men. I work to change society, but that is not always possible. Ours is a discreet heroism. I am allergic to those journalists, whose names I will not mention, who believe themselves to be the protagonists of the film,” he solutions. When he was researching for The empire of achehis ebook concerning the Sackler household and the opioid disaster, one in all his interviewees, upset by one in all his revelations, instructed him she felt like she had “a bit of gum caught to her shoe for the remainder of her life.” That, for Radden Keefe, is one of the best definition of his occupation.

Patrick Radden Keefe, pictured this Thursday in Barcelona, ​​is the first guest of the CCCB's new international residency.
Patrick Radden Keefe, pictured this Thursday in Barcelona, ​​is the primary visitor of the CCCB's new worldwide residency.
Gianluca Battista

The frequent thread working by all his works may very well be the sensation of injustice. “I haven’t experienced it, to be honest. In fact, I am very privileged: I am a man, white and American,” admits the author, son of a high-ranking civil servant and a college professor who met whereas finding out at Oxford. “But I have seen that injustice up close: I grew up in Dorchester, a working-class neighbourhood in Boston, where there was violence and crime. I studied at a prestigious school in another neighbourhood, so I experienced the contrast between those two worlds.” From that childhood, this author who seems like a first-year Kennedy scholar – ​​he has Irish in addition to Australian origins – remembers the insistence of his father, who at all times reminded him “how lucky he was”, and “the scepticism” of his mom. Perhaps that’s the place his temperament as a journalist arose.

In September, Reservoir Books will likely be bringing again Snake headhis second ebook, unpublished in Spanish, a few mafia grandmother from Chinatown. Then comes the one he wrote in Barcelona primarily based on the story of Zac Brettler, a younger Londoner who drowned within the Thames. After his dying, his dad and mom found that he had been posing because the son of a Russian oligarch for months. Radden Keefe says that, as an adolescent, he dreamed of being a rock star. Today's younger individuals, however, desire to go themselves off as the youngsters of millionaires. “The book will talk about this new culture of money. We are witnessing an incredible concentration of wealth. The gap between the very rich and the rest of the population has become more pronounced. Celebrity culture doesn't help either: there is no longer any shame in displaying wealth, not even a slight blush. And then there is what turbocharges all this: social media.” When he was seven years previous, his youngest son requested him who Elon Musk was. That day he understood that occasions had modified.

On the US elections, the author is disillusioned: “It will be a race between two very old men. If Biden loses, that will remain in his legacy: he was the president who did not want to step aside.”

Last week, she made a whirlwind journey to New York to attend her eldest son’s commencement. She had time to observe the catastrophic debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump dwell. “It doesn’t look good. Part of the problem is that it will be a race between two very old men. I wish they would retire sooner. If Biden loses, that will go down in his legacy: he was the president who didn’t want to step aside,” she says. “The worst thing is that, even if he did step aside, it’s not clear whether any other Democrat can beat Trump. It’s terrifying.”

Nor is he optimistic concerning the battle in Palestine, which he sees as stagnant. “It is a classic mistake on the left, even more so in the age of Twitter activism, to spend an enormous amount of time arguing about semantics. We have invested a lot of energy in deciding whether it is genocide or not, as if having caused 20,000 orphans is less serious if we decree that it is not. I am afraid that people will become desensitized. The Biden administration is part of the problem: they are the only ones with real power of influence. They know what is happening and have made a conscious decision not to use it. It is a catastrophe with no end in sight.”

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